Smart Consumer: Should I pay repair charges for a faulty TV no longer under warranty?
Q Bernadette contacted Smart Consumer about a TV she bought for €613.95 in June 2008 and which became faulty earlier this year.
The situation is broadly similar to that of Gerry, whose problem with his broken TV we covered in this column some weeks back.
It is worth going over again though, because this is a problem that Smart Consumer hears of repeatedly. And it's clear that some retailers are not always sufficiently respectful towards their customers' rights.
In July Bernadette brought her faulty TV back to the shop where she had purchased it. They told her it was no longer under guarantee and she would have to call the Irish agent of the manufacturer to enquire about a repair.
She wasn't able to get through to the agent so she went back to the shop and she says the shop "reluctantly agreed to send the TV to the agent at cost of €60" to get it tested. She has now been told that a repair would cost her a further €157, and wants to know what her rights are.
A The problem here is that the retailer should not have fobbed Bernadette off on the manufacturer. Instead they should provide a remedy.
And when they did step in, they shouldn't have charged her.
When it comes to faulty electrical goods, it is common for the retailer to refer customers to the manufacturer. If you have a valid guarantee that the manufacturer can honour, that is fine and it can be a quick route to solving the problem.
But with or without a guarantee, the shop still has an obligation to provide a remedy when a product becomes defective.
Bernadette's TV is two years old, and as you would reasonably expect it to still be working at this stage, the retailer should provide a repair free of charge.
If the retailer refuses, Bernadette should put her complaint in writing to the shop, citing her rights under the Sale of Goods and Supply of Service Act 1980.
If this doesn't result in a resolution then Bernadette can make a claim through the small claims procedure.
Under our Statute of Limitations for such cases you have up to six years after purchase to make a claim.